Avis E. Branstad Amundson
, passed away May 10, 2019 at Muse Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit, Mason City. Funeral services will be held at noon, Thursday, May 16, at Schroeder and Sites Funeral Home, Northwood, with Rev. Judy Converse officiating. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Lunch will be served following the service and burial will be at Center Lutheran Church Cemetery, rural Leland immediately after lunch. The family will distribute memorials for Avis to Center Lutheran Church Cemetery and Hospice of North Iowa.
Avis was born Dec. 7, 1924, in rural Winnebago County, to Elmer and Anna Branstad. She was baptized, confirmed and married at Center Lutheran Church and graduated from Lake Mills High School. Following graduation, she was a teacher at rural schools in Winnebago County.
Avis married Lester Amundson on June 21, 1945, and together they farmed near Leland, later near Lake Mills, and then moved to Northwood. She assisted Lester in the insurance business, drove a school bus for the Northwood-Kensett School District for over 30 years, and for several years she managed the Northwood Swimming Pool. During this time, she also owned and managed a gift store in Lake Mills.
Avis enjoyed golfing, fishing, boating, camping, riding motorcycles and hunting which she and Lester enjoyed together. She was noted for her “school bus yellow” full-size Hummer that she named “Humdinger.” During her lifetime, she was a trailblazer and didn’t let stereotypical roles limit her lifestyle. She could cook up a storm, scale a telephone pole to repair the wiring, landscape, detail vehicles to resell, perform carpentry tasks single-handedly, and received awards for her pitching skills on the boys’ softball team in high school.
She is survived by daughters: Karen (Lynn) Watney, Lawrence, Kansas; and Mary (Brent) Brunsting, Mason City; two grandchildren: Chris (Rob Gary) Watney, Evergreen, Colo.; and Chase (Carrie) Johnson, Maxwell; two great-granddaughters: Rose Gary and Claire Johnson; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dec. 29, 2008; siblings: Rev. Raymond Branstad, Berniece Long, Floyd Branstad, and an infant sister; a niece and two nephews. She was also recently preceded in death by her loving and faithful dogs, Lucy and Ethel, who were her protectors and constant companions for the last 10 years of her life.